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Qualcomm Pushes For Less Linux Fragmentation

Less Fragmention, More Android

  • August 11, 2010
  • By Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner
BOSTON -- Linux is broadly available on mobile devices, but competing implementations could lead to problems down the road for developers and confusion for customers, according to a Qualcomm executive.

"There is some fragmentation and that's a challenge. There is no mobile equivalent of x86," said Rob Chandhok, president of the Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC), a division of chip and mobile phone technology provider Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM). "There is a plethora of different configurations for different handsets.

Chandhok remarks came during a keynote here at the LinuxCon conference this week, where he also announced Qualcomm has joined the Linux Foundation. He added that Qualcomm's business is not about championing one particular operating mobile Linux environment over any other but, like other developers, the company faces the challenge of having to develop optimizations for Android, MeeGo and LiMO mobile Linux implementations.

"We want to define a common mobile Linux base to reduce the fragmentation," Chandhok said.

He added that the common mobile Linux base needs to occur at a low level in the stack, so there is no controversy among vendors.

"We want the whole ecosystem to grow," said Chandhok, "even if the common base helps our competitors."

He added that Qualcomm uses open source internally including Red Hat, SUSE Linux and Ubuntu in their build farms. Qualcomm has also worked on helping to add support for CDMA in Linux as well as camera enhancements.

"Don't think of Qualcomm as a company that doesn't do open source," Chandhok said. "Qualcomm has been involved in supporting Linux based devices for a decade.

In terms of devices, Chandhok specifically called out Google Android-based devices as being a solid market for Qualcomm. He said that there are now over 50 Android handsets that use Qualcomm processors.

Chandhok added that Qualcomm wants to contribute any changes it makes back to the open source community to further enhance Linux-based open source platforms in general.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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